In the National Basketball Association, height is one of the most important physical attributes a player can have. Strength, wingspan, and on-court speed are also important, but being tall has its advantages. There are several tall players who will crowd the lanes and alter shots during the 2019 postseason, but none of them are among the tallest NBA players of all time.
9. Ralph Sampson — 7-foot-4 (TIE)
Mark Eaton and Priest Lauderdale stood 7-4, too, but we wanted to start our countdown of the tallest NBA players with a Hall of Famer.
The No. 1 overall pick of the 1983 draft, Sampson was a force in the middle during his rookie season. He averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game, while being named an All-Star and won the NBA Rookie of the Year. After his fourth season in the league, Sampson played in over 30 games just once due to a litany of injuries during the second half of his career.
9. Rik Smits — 7-foot-4 (TIE)
The Dunking Dutchman was a staple of the Indiana Pacers lineup during his 12 year NBA career. The No. 2 pick in the 1988 NBA Draft averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game while shooting over 50% from the field. So Smits is one of the tallest NBA players ever, but also one of the most productive.
5. Slavko Vranes — 7-foot-5 (TIE)
This name doesn’t ring a bell? That’s probably because his NBA career lasted three minutes in a 2004 regular season game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Once his 10-day contract was up the Trailblazers did not offer him another contract.
5. Pavel Podkolzin — 7-foot-5 (TIE)
Although his time in the NBA was longer than Vranes, Podkolzin also saw limited action during his two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. He played in six total games and scored four total points to go along with nine rebounds.
5. Chuck Nevitt — 7-foot-5 (TIE)
Nevitt had a serviceable career in the NBA during the 1980s, playing for five teams and capturing an NBA championship with the Lakers in 1985. He has the distinction of the being the tallest player in league history to win a championship.
5. Sim Bhullar — 7-foot-5 (TIE)
Sim Bhullar was a mammoth on the NBA court, standing at 7-5, 360 pounds. He was the first player of Indian descent in the league, and he played three games for the Sacramento Kings during the 2014-15 season.
3. Yao Ming — 7-foot-6 (TIE)
The transcendent center from China, Yao Ming’s impact on the game of basketball reached a global scale. Entering the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Yao quickly became a dominant player in the NBA. He was named to the All-Star team eight times, and he made the All-NBA team five times. For his career, Yao averaged 19 points, nine rebounds, and nearly two blocks per game. He’s one of the tallest NBA players ever, and he entered the Hall of Fame in 2016.
3. Shawn Bradley — 7-foot-6 (TIE)
Shawn Bradley used his height to build a long career in the NBA. He wasn’t the best scorer in the post and had his faults on defense, but he played in the league for 12 seasons between the 76ers, Nets, and Mavericks.
2. Manute Bol — 7-foot-6.75 (TIE)
Manute Bol was arguably the best defensive player on our list of the tallest NBA players of all time. He couldn’t put the ball in the hoop, but his height made him a defensive force. Bol averaged five blocks per game during his rookie season. He finished his career averaging more than three blocks per game. His height was a hair under 7-7 when the Guinness Book of Records, according to the Kansas City Star.
1 Gheorghe Muresan — 7-foot-7
The tallest player in NBA history, Muresan was a second-round pick by Washington in the 1993 NBA Draft. He averaged more than 10 points and six rebounds per game in his three seasons as a starter for Washington. Muresan spent seven seasons in the NBA, but he missed the 1997-98 campaign with an injury.